Construction information

To see a detailed, up-to-date map of the construction project, or to sign up for notifications, go the City of Bend’s website

Key dates:

April 9-May 14: Simpson Avenue roundabout closed

May 15-June 11: SW Century Drive/NW 14th Street between north of Simpson Avenue and Albany Avenue on the west side of the road will be under construction

June 12-June 22: Intersection of NW 14th Street and Albany Avenue closed to traffic.

June 30: Project to end

June-September: Project from Galveston Avenue to Newport Avenue will continue.

Businesses affected by the Simpson Avenue roundabout roadwork want customers to know they’re open for business, but it just might be hard to get to them.

Customers may have to dodge orange cones, cross torn-up streets and follow detour routes to get to stores or restaurants along SW Century Drive.

At Pine Mountain Sports, owner Dan McGarigle said the city has communicated with businesses to prepare them for the disruption.

“Everyone’s been great to work with,” McGarigle said. “So far everything has been good. Our customers know us and know where we are at. They’ll find their way to us.”

The roadwork began on Monday, closing the roundabout at Simpson Avenue and a portion of SW Century, which changes names to NW 14th Street at NW Commerce Avenue. Crews are digging up the roadway to repave and install a concrete foundation at the roundabout. It’s all part of a $5.4 million city project that includes bike lanes, sidewalks, planter areas and a new roadway.

Businesses have been promised that the work will be done by June 30, just in time for the height of the summer tourist season. Before the project started, the city surveyed 90 businesses in the area, asking if they wanted the paving and the roundabout done at the same time or in two separate projects, said Ben Hemson, city of Bend business advocate.

Twenty businesses responded saying they wanted it all done at the same time, Hemson said.

“It’s been a lengthy process,” Hemson said. “The businesses said they wanted the work done in one fell swoop. I think the businesses understand that there would be limited access.”

Businesses along NW 14th Street / SW Century Drive all have driveway access to their stores, but driving to businesses along the route requires taking alternate roads like SW 15th Street, SW Knoll Avenue, Mt. Washington Drive, or SW Colorado Avenue, according to a map provided by the city.

Mitch Cole, owner of Cabin 22, a restaurant on SW Century Drive, was concerned that his business would be deeply affected by the limited access. On Monday, the first day of construction when the temperature was 70 degrees, his outdoor seating area was only a third full. Normally warm days bring out more customers, he said.

“The city has been proactive, but all the information they shared with us hasn’t happened,” Cole said. “We know the roads need to be improved, but I question why the city isn’t working 24 hours a day to get the work done in one month rather than four.”

Jen Riker, owner of Brave Collective, has her own strategy to helping customers get to her store during the construction. Each week she’s offering a special. She said she doesn’t want to complain about the work, but encourage customers and the community to support the businesses.

“Let’s rally around these businesses by making an effort to get to us,” Riker said. “People can still get to us by going through the backside of the building. Bend customers are pretty resilient. We have a strong community that does support local and buy local.”

The closure of the Simpson Avenue roundabout is because it’s one of the older ones in town and has degraded over the years, Hemson said. The city now uses concrete for newer roundabouts.

If there are delays from weather or additional work needs, the contractor, K & E Excavating, has outlined contingencies of doing night work, Saturday work or double crews, Hemson said.

Until the project is completed, the city’s sign ordinance has been suspended in the area, and businesses will be allowed to post banners on their property as long as they fit the size guidelines.

“It’s a small thing, but businesses are concerned if customers can see their businesses are open,” Hemson said. “A lot of folks know this needs to happen.”

— Reporter: 541-633-2117, sroig@bendbulletin.com

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